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Teenage dogs? Evidence for adolescent-phase conflict behaviour and an association between attachment to humans and pubertal timing in the domestic dog

Asher, Lucy; England, Gary C W; Sommerville, Rebecca; Harvey, Naomi D.

Authors

Lucy Asher

GARY ENGLAND gary.england@nottingham.ac.uk
Foundation Dean & Prof Comparative Veterinary Reproduction

Rebecca Sommerville

Naomi D. Harvey



Abstract

The relationship between parent and child changes around adolescence, with children believed to have: (i) an earlier puberty if they have less secure attachments to their carer; (ii) a phase of increased conflict behaviour toward their carer; and (iii) heightened conflict behaviour when carer attachments are less secure. We find support for analogous associations in adolescent dogs based on behaviour and reproductive timing of potential guide dogs. Bitches with behaviour indicative of insecure attachments pre-adolescence became reproductively capable earlier. Providing the first empirical evidence to our knowledge in support of adolescent-phase behaviour in dogs, we found a passing phase of carer-specific conflict-like behaviour during adolescence (reduced trainability and responsiveness to commands), an effect that was more pronounced in dogs with behaviour indicative of less secure attachments. These results indicate a possibility for cross-species influence on reproductive development and highlight adolescence as a vulnerable time for dog–owner relationships.

Citation

Asher, L., England, G. C. W., Sommerville, R., & Harvey, N. D. (2020). Teenage dogs? Evidence for adolescent-phase conflict behaviour and an association between attachment to humans and pubertal timing in the domestic dog. Biology Letters, 16(5), https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0097

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2020
Online Publication Date May 13, 2020
Publication Date May 1, 2020
Deposit Date Apr 21, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 24, 2020
Journal Biology Letters
Electronic ISSN 1744-957X
Publisher Royal Society, The
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 5
Article Number 20200097
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0097
Keywords Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous); General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/4324615
Publisher URL https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0097

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